Mrs. Betty Jo Rice-Ketchum


Brazosport Independent School District honors its rich history and heritage by inducting 1953 Brazosport High School graduate, in memoriam, Mrs. Betty Jo Rice-Ketchum, into Brazosport Independent School District’s Wall of Fame.

The purpose of the Wall of Fame is to recognize graduates of Brazosport ISD who have demonstrated a high level of achievement in their field of endeavor and/or who have made significant contributions through achievement, service or leadership. Mrs. Ketchum’s life exemplified the every element of this award. 

Betty Jo Ketchum accomplished a great deal in her lifetime. Ketchum faced many challenges as a child living with one relative, then another, to sometimes complete strangers who showed her kindness. Her only secure relationship, as a child, was with her older brother, Bob Rice. After Bob’s service during WWII, he went to college and took responsibility for his little sister. Betty moved to Freeport with her brother and his wife to finish her last two years of high school at Brazosport. While in Brazosport, she excelled in her English classes and participated in the drama department.

After high school, Betty Jo went to work in Houston and then California where she met her devoted husband, John Ketchum. They returned to Brazoria County to raise their seven children. 

It was during this time that Ketchum became – restless – as her friends and family have said. She decided to volunteer and found her calling at ARC of the Gulf Coast, a nationwide organization that is the world's largest grass roots organization, assisting citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Betty Jo went from being a volunteer, to an advocate, then an employee and finally spent more than 30 years as the Executive Director of ARC of the Gulf Coast. 

Betty was remarkable in her contributions to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Brazoria County.

Betty gave families and individuals the ability to dream. Her dedication and commitment to helping people extended into communities and families all over Brazoria and Galveston counties. Betty worked closely with the United Way of Brazoria County, and surrounding school districts, including Brazosport ISD.

Mrs. Ketchum’s voice, in support of those she chose to serve, was heard beyond our area. In her life, Betty Jo went on to speak to our representatives in Austin as well as testifying in Washington D.C. - giving a voice to those who could not speak for themselves.

Ketchum continued to inspire others to give their time and energies to assist her very dear clients, well past the age that most retire.

In July of 2011, at the age of 75, Betty Jo Ketchum died tragically, leaving her 21 cherished grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, her much-loved seven children and her devoted husband, John. 

Betty Jo Rice-Ketchum’s life was one of service to those who needed a champion. It is for her life of service that we induct her into the Brazosport Independent School District’s Wall of Fame.

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